I received this beer as a birthday present in 2013 and it sat in my fridge for several months mocking me, goading me. After taking a recent trip to Orange County and trying several of the Bruery’s sour efforts I felt like the time had come to crack this beer open.
We brewed this ale with around 40% rye as a base malt and let our sour yeast and bacteria eat away at it in oak barrels for over a year creating a sour ale with a complex character of rye spice, oak and a subtle funk.
Aging beer is a sketchy proposition. Maybe it will make the beer better…but then again it might make it worse. I often intentionally age some of the larger beers I have, but more often than not I just forget about a beer and next thing I know weeks/months have passed. This is why I’m always hesitant when I crack open a beer that I have been aging. Sour in the Rye seemed to fall into this latter category at first sniff. Rye and pepper were the first positive smells I picked up. And then the big notes of acetone invaded my nostrils. Hints of sourness and oak were hidden behind this big alcohol smell, but thankfully they came to the forefront as the beer warmed up. This put me at ease, thinking that perhaps the beer was just a bit too cold. And thankfully that’s exactly what happened.
The beer poured an ice tea/copper color with a quickly fading 1 inch head. It was very clear with minimal carbonation (not surprising considering how long it’s been aged).
The taste burst forth from the gate with a huge sour kick. Crab apples and sweet red wine were the first decipherable flavors, but think of more sour versions of each. A touch of rye hits in the middle to add a layer of spiciness that gives you a momentary reprieve from the sourness. Thankfully these rye notes weren’t too powerful or overpowering, which honestly had worried me considering the name of this beer. It finished with tart cranberry and oak flavors that gives your tonsils another jab and the flavor profile another added boost. A very delicious beer indeed.
Mouthfeel was light and airy like a nice white wine. It dried my mouth out and left behind an odd “film” that was hard to describe, but not entirely unpleasant.
Sour in the Rye was a great sour beer. Quite possibly one of the best sours I’ve had and arguably the best product the Bruery has produced. I don’t remember the fresh version I had a few weeks prior being as sour, but regardless the aging was worth the wait. I just wish that I would have saved a couple extra bottles to enjoy.
Overall: 8.5 out of 10
As an AMERICAN WILD ALE: 9.5 out of 10
FOR FANS OF: The Bruery SOUR IN THE RYE with PEACHES, The Bruery SOUR IN THE RYE with KUMQUATS, The Bruery SOUR IN THE RYE with PINEAPPLE